tonight on "nightline," airport confidential. when passengers go off the rails, when dogs sniff out a hidden stash, one team rushes to action. >> put your hands up! >> we bring you the behind the scenes drama at one of the biggest airports in the country. and courageous mothers fighting to stop the madness in an american war zone. and two little girls caught in the crossfire. a place where gang members as young as 13 carry automatic weapons and the death toll of innocent bystanders is climbing. plus, rocket man. a wild ride with the daredevil trying to set a world record with his water-propelled jet
pack. don't try this at home. >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city, this is "nightline," october 18th, 2012. >> good evening, i'm cynthia mcfadden. tonight, we begin with a look at airport security and what's on the other side of those security lines. big, crowded airports like miami international, the pressure of delivering 100,000 stressed out passengers safely to their destination every day makes for no shortage of human drama, as my co-anchor bill weir discovered. >> reporter: let's say you're on a flight into miami. and the guy next to you comes completely unhinged. >> sir, i need you to take a seat right now. >> i paid a lot of money for this seat. >> reporter: while you watch flight attendants struggle for control, what you'll never see, what you ever see is an airport the size of a small city spring from defense to offense in a
blink. bolds move as word spreads. >> all right, guys, go ahead. it's on you. >> reporter: from pilot to tower, where intense eyes flick past the 1,500 camera feeds to find that corner of the runway known as the penalty box. there, while engines wind, guns approach, held by miami-dade cops. >> rear guard, go around. >> reporter: and since this is an international flight, customs and border patrol. >> put your hands up! put your hands on top of your head. >> reporter: all of us on the plane knew this was practice, but still. heards pound in moments like this, embarrassing mistakes can be made. and the fact that mia officials invited "nightline" to watch further proves they are pulling back the curtain down here in unprecedented ways. airport 24/7 is the first reality show given access to the sort of high and low drama that plays out here every day. as 100,000 personalities
collide. cameras are romming when item persons flare. when drugs are found welded into auto parts and when arguments erupt over carry-on peanut butter. >> the size is too large. you can bring a little one, 3.4 ounces or less. but this is too big. >> [ bleep ]. >> reporter: they're romming when dogs sniff out a suspiciously large stack of cash, when a gun is found in a carry-on bag and a knife is discovered in one man's shoe. all part of the routine in a place that has a small museum of would be carry-on weaponry. >> what was in that person's mind when they walked through our checkpoint? >> reporter: lauren is not only the director of security at mia, she is the head of pr. and while many in her position may disagree, she sees this publicity as a security tool. >> we believe this is going to show the public what we do for their safety. we're not giving away family secr
secrets. >> reporter: no? >> the only thing we want the bad guys to know, we're serious about security so take it somewhere else. >> reporter: what they mostly reveal is a relentless game of cat and mouse. and dog. >> hey. how are you? >> reporter: on this day, tyson is set out to sniff a cargo plane from costa rica, full of fish and cilantro. customs agents know how smuggle earls mark boxes with innocent-looking numbers and how a dock worker who sneaks something past the gates can make 5,000 bucks. they seize close to 21,000 pounds of drugs last year, but on this day, come up empty. so, there's a chance that tyson might have smelled, might have made a mistake? >> it's a possibility. some days are good, some days are bad. >> reporter: in the international terminal, tyson's stubbier colleagues are trying to head off the kind of plants that could carry devastating crop disease into the u.s. but they've also found a full assortment of oddities over the years, including body parts and
fetuses used in haitian religious rich warms. >> birds -- >> reporter: live birds? >> yeah. smuggled in birds, yeah. >> reporter: but bird smugglers are small potatoes in a category x airport like this. the designation given on to the most prime targets of terror. the average traveler still resents taking off their shoes. >> right. >> reporter: still thinks that this is sort of, security theater to make us all feel better, but -- maybe al qaeda is not going to do it the way they did it before. >> we know for a fact that we are still the prime target for terrorism here in the united states. and we know there are threats here. there's insider threat. >> reporter: customs and border protection, they're, on a weekly, monthly basis, catching terror suspects that we never know about? >> they may not put out the press release, but i'm going to tell you that it is a fact, that these things do happen. >> stand up, sir. >> reporter: back on the jet, the angry actor is lead away.
pretend pengers deplane past drawn weapons. and the officers in charge cool off and reflect. are you wore ripped you are giving something away by showing us this? >> we still got a lot of secrets in our bag. you know, this is nothing compared to what we can bring on to an organized group of bad guys, whether domestic, international terrorism, whatever, that want to come and wreak havoc. we got something for them. >> put your hands up! >> reporter: here's hoping they never have to prove it. i'm bill weir for "nightline" in miami. >> "airport 24/7" airs tuesday nights on the travel channel. next up, mothers speaking out from a place where children are afraid to go outside. two little girls in a hidden american war zone, next.
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>> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with cynthia mcfadden. >> on the streets of chicago, gang violence has taken over 400 lives this year alone. making it, quite literally, a battleground in the heart of the united states. victims have included children as young as 6 years old. it's a hidden america most of us will never see. abc's alex perez, who himself grew up in one of these dangerous neighborhoods, brings us the first in a series of reports we're calling, from chicago, "hidden america: don't shoot, i want to grow up." >> where is that coming from? >> reporter: thursday night in chicago. mothers on the south and west sides of this city are bracing. for them, weekends mean
violence. murder. and sleepless nights. praying that their children will live to bury them, not the other way around. it's a prayer diana knows well. she lives in a chicago neighborhood called little village, the same home where she grew up. but the fond memories she had here were erased on a warm, saturday afternoon last march. >> it was a beautiful day. we were going to go to a bit day party. we were actually waiting for our cousins to join us. >> reporter: while she waited, she, her boyfriend, 2-year-old daughter kate lip and 6-year-old daughter alliyah decided to sit on the front porch. chef was helping alliyah tame her frizzy hair. >> i was sitting right here. kaitlyn, armando and alliyah was between my legs. she had beautiful, curly hair that when it was hot, it would get real nappy. so, i was running my fingers
through her hair. >> reporter: as she untangled alliyah's hair, a pickup truck came barrelling down the street and that bright, sunny day became the darkest afternoon in diana's life. >> i just heard, you know, tsk, boom! >> reporter: a gang war cry and gun fire. >> i honestly didn't think -- i just -- i didn't -- i guess it happened so fast, by the time i looked up, i just seen the truck, the guy, pointing at us. >> reporter: in those few seconds, alliyah, still sitting between her mother's legs, went silent. >> i seen blood on her arm, and i was screaming for help. and i got up and i see kaitlyn on the ground, screaming and i let go of alliyah, but i promise you that i thought she just got shot in her arm. i ran inside to call 911 and as i hoped the door i seen her rolling down -- and blood on her
arm but by the time i got down, she was purple and she had other wounds. and i didn't get to hear her voice ever again. ever. maybe i should have got up, maybe i should have done something else and i ask myself that every night. but i -- it's into too late. and i ask myself why? >> reporter: alliyah was killed in a neighborhood just a few blocks from here, where i grew up. her story reminds me of my experience. as a teenager, three of my friends were killed in gang shootings. but the violence today is even nor fright pg and unpredictable. police are fighting back. police superintendent gary mccarthy showed me the arsenal they have seized this year alone. more than 10,000 illegal guns. is there one solution, one key to fix our problem? >> no. there's no way to just stop the flow of firearms into this city. there's no way to reinvent the
family structure that doesn't exist, so that you don't have 13-year-olds on the street at 1:00 in the morning engaged in a gun battle. >> reporter: and so, across this city, grieving mothers like diana are taking on this massive arsenal, telling the stories of their slain children to anyone who will listen, over and over. the only weapon they have. >> yeah, they was right on the school ground. >> reporter: the night we met tania, she was handing out flyers, asking people who have seen homicides to break the code of silence. >> i call it the code of coward. >> reporter: tania's 19-year-old son was shot at a party three years ago. but like 70% of home side cases in this city, his case remains unsolved. >> so much danger in this neighborhood. it was just ridiculous. >> reporter: this woman thought she'd come up with a way of protecting her children. >> i say, okay, we stop at the candy store, at least they can come outside in front of the house, i can watch them, they'll
be safe right here. >> reporter: the candy store would help pay for a trip to disney world for her 7-year-old daughter. a reward for an excellent report card. >> she picked up her pink shorts and her pink shoes. and all her stuff that she wanted to wear to disney world. ♪ >> reporter: but the little diva, who loved singing about hope, never made it to disney world. caught in gang cross fire at that candy store outside her home. just three weeks before the trip. >> i ran to the door, i saw her face down, bleeding. she took her last breath in my arms. >> reporter: even at just 7, heaven knew the changers of the neighborhood and wanted out. >> she's like, ma, let's move. it's not right over here. how do they live like this? she's 7 years old. she was before her time. >> reporter: time is what seems frozen for die yap thandiana. she tripes not to spend the
weekends at home. she stays with her sister in a different neighborhood. when she's at home, she's in her bedroom, which has become a shine to alliyah. >> this is my alliyah. this is what i have of her. >> reporter: the walls, pink and purple, alliyah's favorite colors. and pictures everywhere. >> once thing that i really wanted to show you, and everybody out there in the world, is that this is my baby. 6 years old. loved cool, loved life. amazing little girl. this -- this is what they took away from me, and this is what, unfortunately, i am forced to see now. we need to do something. we need to stop this. we need to show these kids that there's options out there, you know? that there's other options besides joining the gangs. there's other -- you have a family, a real family that loves, that wants the best for you, that wants a future for you. >> reporter: for "nightline"
unt, i'm alex perez in chicago. >> heartbreaking. our thanks to alex perez for bringing us that story. tomorrow night on "world news" and a special edition of "nightline," we're going to show you what happened when we brought together members of rival gangs for an unprecedented summit. >> prey or the predator. which one you going to be? >> and then, what happened when the grieving mothers we melt directly confronted them. the grieving mothers we melt directly confronted them. we'll be right back. ghest skin ? join the counter revolution and switch to olay pro-x to see results in 28 days. anti-aging results so you look up to 12 years younger. reduce the look of pores and fight red acne for clearer skin get cleansing results as effective as a $200 system no matter what your skincare issues you'll see results in 28 days guaranteed join the counter revolution with potent, professional, pro-x. join the counter revolution sometimes life can be well, a little uncomfortable.
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setting a new world record is no easy task. especially when that record is attempting to fly further than anyone has ever flown before on a futuristic water-propelled jet pack. but that's exactly what one man set out to do. and we sent abc's nick watt along for the ride. >> reporter: take one daredevil with a chiseled jaw, futuristic contraption shoots for a new world record. the longest jet pack flight over open water, 26 long miles from newport beach to catalina island.
>> we're an hour in. >> reporter: no one has ever tried this before. >> it's personal flight. it's every person's dream out there. it truly is like being a super hero. you are flying through the air like superman or ironman and you can go underwater, too. >> reporter: with basically two fire hoses strapped to your back, pushing water up into the air up to 35 miles an hour. it's called a jet lev, now commercially available with anyone with a love for flight and 100 grand. invented by a genius in florida who is, unsurprisingly, a 007 fan. >> we saw james bond "thunder ball" and the jet pack and he was intrigued. the big leaps th he took was thinking you could use water pressure other than hydrogen. >> reporter: he was a banker, learned to fly just a year ago. they say anyone can do it. >> and here we go. >> reporter: that's me, under
training. the sensation is other worldly. imagine you are swimming in the ocean and suddenly, you take off. >> try not to swing to the sides. totally centered. >> reporter: now, you can fly like me, like a hip pot must or like a humming bird. >> nice. >> reporter: hard to look like james bond. you feel like you are actually flying and you don't feel that you are attached to the ocean. i'm a bit speechless. >> that's johnny, an instructor in new to port beach where they represent and teach. watch and learn. they call that the dolphin. but on open water, different story. waves can easily interrupt the water supply. >> you literally can be thrown into a back flip and up can go
into the water and -- >> reporter: the boat unit gets lifted out. >> if you are not prepared, it can throw you off. >> reporter: four hours plus and his arms are numb, his butt is aching, his whole body is aching. why, oh, why? >> it's a matter of, can it be done? >> he's flying by himself. >> reporter: is it a bird? is it a plane? nope. he's now the world's newest record holder. dean o'malley, jet dude, made it. just ran out of gas. i'm nick watt for "nightline" on catalina island. >> well, now, for those of you jealous of nick, you can buy your very own jet pack for only $99,500 from this year's knee man marcus holiday catalog. thank you for watching abc news. be sure to tune in tomorrow night for a special edition of "nightline," inside the gang violence in chicago for our series "hidden america: don't shoot, i want to grow up." "good morning america" will be waiting for you right here in the morning. good night, america.